The Washington Redskins are many things to many people: entertainment for many, a sense of pride for others, and a model of physical determination and perseverance for all.
But for one day out of each week, the Redskins players show their softer side and serve as ambassadors to the community, wherever that may be.
This week, the Tuesday off day was spent in Richmond, where
Joined also by Mrs. Tanya Snyder, Mrs. Kiersten Allen, and the players’ wives, the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation hosted the “Redskins Back to School Shopping Spree presented by Macy’s” in Short Pump Town Center in Richmond.
More than 200 underserved students from Blackwell Elementary School and Carver Elementary School joined with a player or wife and allowed to pick out their very own back-to-school outfit, as well as receive a backpack full of school supplies sponsored by Staples.
“Which one is harder? Probably shopping with these guys,” receiver Leonard Hankerson joked, comparing it to playing on Sundays. “They’re all over the place!”
But for players, who closed out training camp in Richmond just one month ago, this was an opportunity to give back to a community that made them feel so at home.
“Let’s go back to Richmond, just to give back to this city,” running back Alfred Morris said. “This is a community that embraced us so much and really opened up to us.
“They love us here and we get to show them love back. I hope we get to do more events down here."
Events in the community are always special for Morris, who enjoys giving kids an opportunity he never had as a child.
"When I was kid, I never got to interact with professional athletes. So this is definitely going to be life-changing for them, something that I hope they remember for the rest of their lives.
“Just to see the glow in their faces; this is a shopping spree for them. Just to see the joy they’re getting from it makes it all worthwhile.”
Mrs. Snyder beamed with pride as she guided children through the shopping and fitting process. These are the type of events that she envisioned when she and her husband, Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder, created the Redskins Charitable Foundation.
“We’re making a difference in the lives of 200 kids in the Richmond area, and to do it with fashion makes me very proud,” Mrs. Tanya Snyder said. “It’s a lot of fun watching the guys with the boys and watching them shop. We’ve had the girls, just going crazy with dresses, and we’re having a blast.
“It’s just been a lot of fun. They’re all excited and it’s really making a difference in their lives.”
While the players offered what fashion advice they could, Mrs. Snyder, a veteran in the fashion industry, made sure all of her girls had matching outfits and fit properly.
A mother of two girls, Mrs. Snyder remembers the importance of back-to-school shopping.
“I have two girls and we did the dresses, we did the leggings,” she said with a smile. “This is serious stuff.”
Mrs. Snyder is heavily involved with the efforts of the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, but said that today’s event was special, as the team returned to Richmond.
“We love Richmond and we love all of the support. Training camp was really special this year and we’re extremely proud,” she said. “I think so many people and a lot of new fans were able to experience training camp. Just being in Richmond makes us so proud, as a continuation of training camp.
“Making a difference for the kids in Richmond is what today is all about.”